Windows 11 review roundup: Here's what experts are saying about Microsoft's new operating system

Windows 11 Logo
Windows 11 Logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

It's official: Windows 11 is finally here. It spent months in the Insider preview space, being tested by eager Windows enthusiasts and critics alike. Many people enjoyed aspects of it, such as its refreshed Windows apps, while an equally vocal portion of people complained about parts of the new OS, such as its controversial Start menu which our very own senior editor Jez Corden outright hates.

Now, official reviews are live, and it's time for the experts to weigh in with their final thoughts on Windows 11's release build. You can get your Windows 11 takes from the common user on Reddit or Twitter as well, don't forget. But if you want insights penned by the tech experts who run the enthusiast sites you like to visit, then take a look at this roundup of what some of the big-name reviewers are saying about the latest iteration of Microsoft's long-running operating system.

Zac Bowden gave Windows 11 3.5 out of 5 stars for our review of the OS, stating that while it has promise, it's not without issues that hurt its overall appeal.

Windows 11 has the potential to be the best version of Windows yet, but some of the choices Microsoft has made around Teams Chat, Widgets, setting browser defaults, the incomplete dark mode, and functionality of the taskbar really hold it back from being that. Hopefully the next release of Windows 11 fixes these issues.

Windows 11 Start Laptop Razerbook

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Ars Technica's Andrew Cunningham also took issue with a number of Windows 11 components. While he liked his time with the OS overall, he drew a comparison to the much-maligned Windows 8 in terms of 11's UI changes, and compared Vista's system requirement situation to 11's as well.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, Windows 11 is going to be starting its life with some of the same public perception problems that made Windows Vista and Windows 8 relatively unpopular.

In PCWorld's Windows 11 review by Mark Hachman, the new operating system won the title of "unnecessary replacement" for Windows 10 that users may want to pass on for the time being.

Essentially, Microsoft places the most disconcerting aspects of Windows 11 front and center, while its best features are hidden deeper within. That puts Windows 11 at a marked disadvantage out of the gate.

Windows 11 Chat Setup

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The Verge had a more positive view of the new OS, with Tom Warren's Windows 11 review granting the debut release an eight out of ten. He highlighted its new UI as a boon for W11, but also stated it's the first time ever he wouldn't immediately give a Windows upgrade to his main PC.

I can't point to a single feature in Windows 11 that's really worth upgrading instantly for; instead, it's a collection of changes that make the OS feel more modern and easier to use.

Forbes' Barry Collins didn't mince words in his review. He called it the best Windows yet, but only by a slim margin over Windows 10, which made it not worth upgrading to in many cases.

If you've got a stable Windows 10 installation and none of the new features are desperately appealing, why take the risk? Windows 10 will be supported with security updates until late 2025, so there's no rush to move.

Engadget's Devindra Hardawar hit Windows 11 with the "fresh coat of paint" label many people have already referred to Windows 11 as being.

It's a step forward, even if it isn't as momentous as Windows 10. It's also hard to ignore the story behind the new OS, which makes Windows 11 feel more like a way for Microsoft to save face after an embarrassing failure.

Windows 11 Storenew Dark Surfacebook

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

There you have it. A wide assortment of critics and experts agree that the OS certainly has aesthetic appeal and UI perks going for it, though its lack of groundbreaking innovation, finished designs, and meaningful incentives to upgrade hold it back. Those critiques share similarities with what many Insiders have been saying for months while testing and tinkering with the operating system, so the broad consensus appears to be: Upgrade if you want fresh looks, but you're not missing out on anything big by sticking with your current operating system for the time being.

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to